Tag Archives: Frieda river

Unfounded mining company promises and lies pollute Frieda River mine debate

tolukuma cursed

Will the people of the Sepik be the another people cursed by mining like those living along the Angabanga river?

The Chinese government wants to build a $3.6 billion copper and gold mine in the middle of one of Asia/Pacific’s largest pristine wild river systems.

The proposed Frieda River mine in Papua New Guinea’s Sepik region has alarmed local people and international scientists but the mining companies involved are using unfounded promises and lies to muddy the debate.

PanAust is the Australian registered, Chinese State owned company that wants to build the mine, along with another Australian company, junior partner, Highlands Pacific. 

Fred Hess, PanAust’s managing director, has been quoted on ABC news saying:

“The main driver for us is the economic benefit to an enormous number of communities who are deprived of any opportunity to gain better education or medical services because of their subsistence lifestyle.”

While we might all love this compassion from the international mining industry not only is the statement completely preposterous and highly misleading it is also legally and factually incorrect.

PanAust shares are owned by Guangdong Rising Assets Management Co. Ltd (GRAM), a Chinese State owned company. PanAust and its directors are under a legal obligation to deliver as much profit as possible to their shareholders – that is their primary legal duty. To claim the “main driver” for PanAust and its directors is the economic welfare of people living in the Sepik is not just plain nonsense it is untrue!

It is also completely false to suggest people in the Sepik are denied access to basic education and medical services because of their subsistence lifestyles. The reason people in the Sepik lack decent basic services is that as much as half of the PNG government’s annual budget is stolen by politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers in the nation’s capital. This corruption is denying people a decent standard of living and it is their subsistence lifestyles that provide them with their only incomes and social security. Destroy that lifestyle with mining and then people will really be plunged into poverty!

Even if the welfare of the people living in the area around the proposed mine is a concern to the Chinese government and the various mining companies involved, PNG provides plenty of evidence that large-scale mining is not going to help the locals and there is NO documented evidence to the contrary.

The same promises of economic benefits to local people and environmental stewardship were made by Rio Tinto to the people of Bougainville before the company’s Panguna mine destroyed the Jaba river and incited a war that killed as many as 20,000 people.

The same promises were made by BHP Billiton before its Ok Tedi mine destroyed the Fly river system and the company belatedly confessed it should never have opened the mine in the first place.

Anyone who has visited the Southern Highlands would be hard pressed to make the case that Barrick Gold’s Porgera mine has raised living standards and the same is true of New Ireland where there is the huge Lihir mine, owned by Newcrest, and the Simberi mine.

Perhaps given this history, to which we should also add Misima, Tolukuma, Sinivit and Bulolo, it should not be a surprise that there are NO published studies which make the case for large-scale mining being of benefit to rural people in PNG. Indeed, whenever the returns to rural people are subject to investigation, it is found that while a few ‘fat cats’ may capture some benefit, most people surrender their environment for not very much at all and many suffer some terrible social consequences.

The PNG government has been involved in two substantial evaluation reports on the economic impacts of mining for local people, one by the National Research Institute and one conducted by the United Nations.

A 2012 NRI case study on economic benefits from the Porgera mine [pdf file], concluded that:

Much of the financial benefits are thought to be consumed in Port Moresby (at the Crowne Plaza), with only a few individuals having access to a large slice of the wealth”

And, after 20 years of mining, “it is almost impossible to see where the money has gone”.

Papua New Guinea’s 2014 Human Development Report states:

“Papua New Guinea’s 40 year history of Independence has been dominated by the extractives sector. Large-scale mine and oil production … [have] provided significant improvements in incomes and livelihoods for some. At the same time however, this production has sparked civil strife, caused massive environmental damage, arguably distorted the economy, and brought about a range of negative impacts on communities.”

“Despite 14 consecutive years of economic growth, there has been little change in poverty levels in the country. In fact the level of inequality in the country has increased.”

Given the evidence, the onus must be on the Chinese government, PanAust and Highlands Pacific to come up with some hard evidence to support their claims that not only will the mine be environmentally safe, it will bring economic benefits to a huge number of people and communities.

Until they have that evidence they should shut up with their lies and misinformation.

Meanwhile in evaluating the mine’s likely impacts the PNG government and the local communities should trust history rather the rosy predictions of corporate scientists and company officials.

What is at risk is the Sepik River which flows 1,100 kilometres from the mountains in the centre of PNG, across a wide wetland-dotted plain to the northern coast and the lives of 100,000 plus people.

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Large-scale PNG copper mine in sensitive Sepik region alarms environmentalists

PHOTO: Professor Tim Flannery said he cannot think of a worse place for a copper mine. (Australian Science Media Centre)

Professor Tim Flannery said he cannot think of a worse place for a copper mine. (Australian Science Media Centre)

A feasibility study for the first large-scale copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea’s environmentally-sensitive Sepik River catchment suggests it will be even bigger than expected.

Key points:

  • Environmentalists warn a proposed mine in PNG could harm the pristine Sepik and Frieda Rivers
  • Mine owners say they will uphold environmental standards
  • The mining lease application will be submitted to the PNG Government this month

Jemima Garrett | ABC News | 1 June 2016

The Sepik is one of the largest wild river systems left in the Asia Pacific.

The mine owners said they would be using proven best-practice waste and pollution controls but environmentalists said the risk to the pristine Sepik and Frieda Rivers was huge.

The mammal faunas in that area [are] the richest in all of Australasia.

Mammologist Tim Flannery

The Frieda River Copper and Gold Project is controlled by an 80:20 joint venture between Chinese-owned company PanAust and Australian Stock Exchange-listed junior Highlands Pacific.

“It is important to understand what we have at Frieda River. What we are sitting on is one of the ten largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world,” PanAust managing director, Fred Hess said.

A PanAust announcement said its recently-completed feasibility study outlines a larger scale development than that proposed by previous owner Xstata.

That has scientists and environmentalists worried.

The Frieda River runs for 100 kilometres from the mine site in the steep, forested highlands before it joins the Sepik which flows another 600 kilometres through a wetland-dotted plain before reaching PNG’s northern coast.

“From a biological perspective I can hardly think of a worse place for a copper mine,” said mammologist Professor Tim Flannery, who made his name in Papua New Guinea identifying 16 mammal species previously unknown to science.

“I spent a decade in that general region doing a faunal survey and was able to show that the mammal faunas in that area were the richest in all of Australasia,” he said.

The feasibility study said the project would build an innovative integrated waste management facility that would see both tailings and waste rock stored underwater.

Monash University environmental engineering senior lecturer Dr Gavin Mudd said integrated management makes sense in that environment but the risks are big.

“The total size of the resource is reported to be about 2.7 billion tonnes. That is just the ore they dig up that has got the copper and gold in it but … there would probably be several billions of tonnes more of waste rock added to that,” Dr Mudd said.

“So it is certainly a very large scale mine and with that … comes very large scale risk,” he said.

Troubled history of mining in PNG

In addition, there is concern about the environmental record of mining companies in PNG.

“The history of large mines on rivers in Melanesia is not very good,” Professor Flannery said.

“We’ve had the Bougainville copper mine, tremendous damage to a whole river system. You can go on Google Earth and see it today.

“The Freeport mine in Irian Jaya — again, utter devastation of a river system.

“The Ok Tedi mine and the Fly River — again, you can see the damage done on Google Earth. It is absolutely massive and not denied by anyone,” he said.

PanAust said the design for its integrated waste management facility was world’s best practice and it had a proven track record in similar conditions at its mine in Laos.

“While the pristine environment is there (at Frieda River) we are not looking to disturb that outside of the footprint of the mine,” Mr Hess said.

“The main driver for us is the economic benefit to an enormous number of communities who are deprived of any opportunity to gain better education or medical services because of their subsistence lifestyle,” he said.

Water management a challenge: mining company

The Frieda River mine site is in a seismically-active region with very high rainfall.

“These will be challenges, along with mineral sulphides, which become unstable when exposed to air and water,” Dr Mudd said.

“Sulphides like that can react with water and with oxygen and then … form sulphuric acid.

“That in turn … dissolves a lot of heavy metals that can sometimes be at concentration thousands or tens of thousands of times greater than the concentrations we know will start to kill fish and algae,” Dr Mudd said.

“It is a very, very serious problem and it is a very widespread issue in the global mining industry.”

PanAust agrees seepage and water management will be a challenge but Mr Hess said the innovative waste management system aims to properly treat polluted water rather than prevent dam overflow.

In fact, the overflow will be used to generate hydro-electricity.

“The aim is to make sure what overflows is of an acceptable quality and meets all of the international standards,” Dr Hess said.

“We have done a lot of modelling … and all of the work that we have done to date suggests that will comfortably allow us to meet the most stringent standards for discharge.”

PanAust’s application for a special mining lease will submitted to the PNG Government before the end of June.

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Frieda project is bad news for Fly River

Biango Buia | The National aka The Loggers Times

WERA Mori made an interesting statement when he suggested that Ok Tedi Mine facilities along with the Fly River can be used as the government brings the Frieda prospect in the Sepik into operation (Oct 7).

With the OTML, PNGSDP and government saga still in debate, Mori appears not to have learned much, or is just absent minded.

The people of Western have political leaders, with whom this suggestion should be raised in the first instance.

The Fly River issue is currently a hot topic and further “thinking-aloud” on behalf of the government in the media by leaders is unneccessary and unhelpful.

I hope Mori will not go as far as proposing the discharging of the Frieda Mine waste into the Fly River as well.

The Fly River and subsequently, the people living along the Fly River, are already affected badly by the waste from the two mines, the Ok Tedi Mine in Western and the Porgera gold mine in Enga.

We are not asylum seekers settled in Western.

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Highlands Pacific advancing PNG projects

Finance News Network

Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Highlands Pacific Limited Managing Director, John Gooding

Joel Spreadborough: Hello I’m Joel Spreadborough for the Finance News Network and joining me from Highlands Pacific Limited (ASX:HIG) is its Managing Director, John Gooding. John thanks for talking to us.

John Gooding: Thanks Joel.

Joel Spreadborough: Firstly can you introduce us to Highlands Pacific. What is your focus and where are your projects located?

John Gooding: We’ve got three projects in Papua New Guinea. We’ve got an interest in the Ramu nickel project which has just gone into production. We’ve got an interest in the Frieda River copper/gold project with our joint venture partners Xstrata PLC (LON:XTA). And we’re involved 100 per cent in some really extensive exploration just north of the Ok Tedi mine, in the Western Province.

Joel Spreadborough: What experience does Highlands have on its Board?

John Gooding: Oh look we’ve got a great Board. And just recently one of our directors retired after seven years and we appointed Bart Philemon, who is a previous treasurer in the Papua New Guinea Government and we are really pleased to have Bart on board. And in July an organisation called the PNG’s Sustainability Development Program, took a large equity cornerstone interest in Highlands and their representative on our Board is Professor Ross Garnaut, who you may recall. So we’ve got a really good background of legal, mining, exploration, commercial and political nous sitting there now.

Joel Spreadborough: Turning now to Papua New Guinea where Highlands has three main projects. Could you introduce us to each and tell us what they’re prospective for?

John Gooding: The Ramu nickel project is a plus twenty year project; it’s going to produce something like 31,000 tonnes of nickel every year. It’s in joint venture with Chinese partners, that was a $1.5 billion project and yeah, it’s just gone into commissioning. Next month we’re actually exporting our first lot of concentrate into China. So that’s been the culmination of about 35 years since it was discovered, so that’s really exciting.
The Frieda River project is a project that’s just getting to the end of a feasibility study. And as part of Xstrata’s buying responsibilities into the joint venture, they’ve had to spend about $300 million on a feasibility study for the project, and we’re expecting the final numbers for that at the end of this year. And Star Mountains is an exploration project; we’ve discovered a new porphyry province just north of Ok Tedi and we’re spending about $10 million a year there.

Joel Spreadborough: Looking closer now at the $US1.5 billion Ramu nickel/cobalt mine, what are the latest developments?

John Gooding: Yeah well we’ve just been commissioning since about March this year, we’ve commissioned two of the three autoclaves. We’ve produced about 24,000 tonnes of nickel/cobalt mixed hydroxide to date. As I’ve said earlier, we’re doing our first export run in a couple of weeks’ time and we’ll be gradually ramping up to 31,000 tonnes of nickel, we hope, by about the middle of next year.

Joel Spreadborough: So what do you expect will be the next milestone for the plant?

John Gooding: The next milestone for the project will be probably the third autoclave being commissioned and the second part of the acid plant. And then a month-on-month an increasing production profile.

Joel Spreadborough: You also have the Frieda River copper/gold project where Xstrata is your joint venture partner. What is your stake in the
project and your working relationship with Xstrata?

John Gooding: Yeah, we’ve got over 18 per cent equity in that project. Again that was a Highlands project, but a very big project and Xstrata is part of their farming. They’ve had to finance a feasibility study and because it’s such a large project, they’ve spent in excess of $270 million to date on doing that. Look, our working relationship with Xstrata is very good; you know they’re a very big mining house. They’re very experienced at copper/goldmining in particular; especially big porphyries and they’ve been a good partner.

Joel Spreadborough: Can you tell us a little bit more about the project. How many deposits does it consist of, and what is your overall resource estimate?

John Gooding: At Frieda River, the joint venture or the project is actually concentrating on only three deposits which are the Horse, Ivaal and Trukai deposits. Outside of the feasibility study, there are a couple of other targets very close to those feasibility study targets. And we’ve got a 470 million tonne deposit just sitting off to the side of a place called Koki, and another 170 million tonnes sitting in Ekwai. But the main resource that we’re studying at the moment is over 2 billion tonnes of material, so that will give a mine life in excess of 20 years.

We also have another deposit called the Nena deposit and Xstrata elected to bring that into the joint venture in January of this year, and paid us $10.8 million to do that. And that deposit is 53 million tonnes, but a really high grade copper deposit so that at some stage or another, that’ll become an important part of the process.

Joel Spreadborough: John let’s look now at Star Mountains project. How many exploration licences does it include, and what are they prospective for?

John Gooding: We’ve got four exploration licences and ELAs which is an application for licence. On one of those licences, Xstrata have an option to buy back in once we’ve produced a prefeasibility study on a project, by paying us three times what we’ve spent and also to carry it through to feasibility study. But the other licences we have are 100 per cent in our own name.

Joel Spreadborough: And what is your strategy for the Star Mountains project?

John Gooding: In the last couple of years we’ve done a lot of drilling up there, we’ve been concentrating on one particular target called Olgal. This area was first discovered about 40 years ago before Ok Tedi was discovered, and we’re really the first company to go back in there and be drilling there. It’s quite isolated but it’s a new porphyry deposit. We’ve found some really great targets, we’ve got over a dozen targets and in fact, one of the intersections we had there was almost 600 metres of mineralisation from surface. So it gives us a lot of excitement for going forward.

Joel Spreadborough: Turning to your financials. What’s your current cash position and for how long are you funded?

John Gooding: We’ve got $18 million at the moment; we’ve got no debt or hedging at all. We believe that’s probably satisfactory to take us through to the end of next year. But having said that, you know the economic situation at the moment in the world is a bit uncertain and we monitor that very closely to make sure that it’s sustainable.

Joel Spreadborough: Lastly John looking ahead, what are Highland Pacific’s main priorities for the coming year?

John Gooding: Yeah, look really to see Ramu go through to full production by the end of next year. Receiving the feasibility study from Frieda River and then I think during 2013, there’ll obviously be discussions with Xstrata and other parties and other stakeholders, including the Government regarding carrying that forward. And with Star Mountains, it’s just go and find a great ore deposit that the market will give us some recognition for.

Joel Spreadborough: John Gooding, thank you for the introduction to Highlands Pacific.

John Gooding: Good, thanks very much for the opportunity.

Ends

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Big changes coming to PNG Sustainable Development Program if new government has its way

Frik Els | Mining.com

Radio Australia reports Peter O’Neill, Prime Minister of Papau New Guinea, has demanded that Anglo-Australian giant BHP Billiton grant PNG control over appointments to the board of the PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd. (PNGSDP).

“I think BHP should take its leave at some stage. I’d rather it be sooner than later. BHP has to learn that it has to move on,” O’Neill said.

PNGSDP was formed in 2002, when BHP Billiton divested its 52% shareholding in Ok Tedi Mining Limited.

PNGSDP currently holds assets worth $1.4 billion including a 63% stake in the massive Ok Tedi copper and gold mine which is nearing the end of its life. The PNG government owns the rest.

PNG Mine Watch reports PNGSDP is considering buying into Xstrata’s Frieda River copper and gold project by bringing the PNG government on board.

Xstrata in June said it was looking for a buyer of its 82% interest in the Frieda River, not saying anything more than the decision is part of an “ongoing review of operations.”

The Swiss miner has spent more than $250 million on the project and is walking away from one of the richest copper-gold deposits on the planet.

Frieda River – described as Ok Tedi “30 years ago” – boasts a resource of about 12 million tons of copper and 18.5 million ounces of gold and is only 70km north of the Ok Tedi mine.

PNGSDP already owns a small stake in Frieda River via its shareholding in explorer Highlands Pacific which it acquired in June this year.

In June-July PNG held its eighth election since independence from Australia in 1975. O’Neil was caretaker PM during the transition.

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Corporate press routinely ignores real people in Papua New Guinea

Anthony Loewenstein

Busi­ness re­port­ing often ig­nores the vast bulk of human be­ings and fo­cuses solely on com­pany prof­its. Take this lead story in Mur­doch’s Aus­tralian:

Papua New Guinea spe­cial­ist High­lands Pa­cific has long been known as an as­set-rich, share-price-poor type of stock. There is a feel­ing out there that this year could well see that change for the bet­ter, due to a cou­ple of mile­stones that are to be clocked up.

The first is the com­mis­sion­ing of the $US1.5 bil­lion ($1.47bn) Ramu nickel-cobalt pro­ject in PNG, 8.56 per cent-owned by High­lands and with the abil­ity for it to go to an even­tual 20.55 per cent stake.

China’s MCC is the major part­ner and op­er­a­tor of the pro­ject, which has cost more than orig­i­nally planned and is two years be­hind sched­ule.

None of that re­ally mat­ters to High­lands as it has been car­ried in the de­vel­op­ment.

As­sume a long-term nickel price of $US9 a pound (now $US8 a pound) and High­lands could re­ceive $US3 mil­lion-$US5m a year up until about 2018, when pro­ject debt is as­sumed to be paid off. After that, High­lands’ stake in­creases to 11.3 per cent and its share of free cash­flow could be $US15m-$US20m a year, with the op­tion to go to a 20.55 per cent eq­uity in­ter­est should it de­sire.

All that is not bad in it­self for a com­pany that yes­ter­day was being val­ued by the mar­ket at $106m (15.5c a share).

Given Ramu’s de­vel­op­ment cost, it seems fair enough to sug­gest High­land’s mar­ket cap is cov­ered by the Ramu in­ter­est alone.

But just like a late-night TV ad throw­ing in steak knives as part of the deal, there is more to High­lands, most no­tably its 18.8 per cent stake in the Xs­trata-led Frieda River cop­per-gold pro­ject in PNG.

It is one of the world’s biggest un­de­vel­oped cop­per-gold de­posits (12.9 mil­lion tonnes of cop­per and 20 mil­lion ounces of gold). Xs­trata de­layed a fea­si­bil­ity study into its de­vel­op­ment to De­cem­ber this year.

That raised con­cerns in some quar­ters that Xs­trata had gone cold on the pro­ject. But the re­al­ity is that Xs­trata de­layed it to study power op­tions for Frieda River in greater depth. The emerg­ing avail­abil­ity of gas in that part of the world means that the orig­i­nal plan for an $US810m hy­dro-power pro­ject could be re­placed with the cheaper op­tion of gas-fired power.

Like Ramu be­fore it, the delay at Frieda River is nei­ther here nor there, given that when it is de­vel­oped it is going to be around for decades.

Throw in High­lands’ ex­plo­ration hunt near the al­most ex­hausted Ok Tedi cop­per-gold mine in the Star Moun­tains in PNG, and it is easy to see why val­u­a­tions of High­lands runs well ahead of its cur­rent share price. Euroz set­tled on a 40c share price tar­get in a re­cent re­search note on the com­pany after first hav­ing ar­rived at a 51c val­u­a­tion.

Un­der­stand any of that? Of course you didn’t, you’re a real per­son who ac­tu­ally won­ders what so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact such ex­plo­rations may have on the poor peo­ple of PNG.

Here’s the Ox­ford Busi­ness Group high­light­ing calls for the PNG gov­ern­ment to make sure these vast rev­enues don’t all leave the coun­try:

A se­ries of sig­nif­i­cant min­eral finds in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have high­lighted the role ex­ports are set to play in the na­tion’s eco­nomic fu­ture. How­ever, there have been calls from in­dus­try play­ers and op­po­si­tion of­fi­cials ask­ing the gov­ern­ment to do more to en­sure rev­enues stay in the coun­try.

In mid-April, state-owned Petro­min an­nounced that it had found a 364-me­tre in­ter­sec­tion of por­phyry cop­per, molyb­de­num and gold min­er­al­i­sa­tion at its Ipi River prospect, lo­cated 50 km north of its Tolukuma gold mine in Cen­tral Province.

In the same month, Aus­tralia-based In­do­chine Min­ing an­nounced that gold and sil­ver finds at Mount Kare had un­der­lined the “out­stand­ing po­ten­tial” of the pro­ject to be­come one of PNG’s next major min­ing op­er­a­tions. Of­fi­cials also re­vealed that KULA Gold’s Wood­lark Is­land pro­ject, which has es­ti­mated re­serves of 700,000 ounces, was on track to start pro­duc­ing in 2014.

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Frieda river mine could be too expensive to build

Xstrata is expected to announce shortly that it will not be going ahead with its proposed Frieda river gold and copper mine in Papua New Guinea.

There are strong rumours that the costs of building the required hydro-electricity plant have blown out causing Xstrata to consider the cancellation of the whole project.

The news will be a blow to Xstrata junior partner Highlands Pacific whose other mining interest in PNG, the Ramu nickel mine, has been closed down by the PNG government over concerns about its slurry pipeline.

The Frieda River copper-gold project is located near the headwaters of the Sepik River on the border of East and West Sepik Provinces. Xstrata holds an 82% interest in the project and Highlands Pacific the remaining 18%. Xstrata is the project operator.

The size of the mineral deposits around the mine site mean that it was projected to be bigger than the near-by and highly controversial Ok Tedi mine.

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Xstrata hikes PNG Frieda River copper estimate 10% to 9.4 mil mt

Swiss-headquartered global miner Xstrata said Friday that contained copper metal at the Horse-Ivaal-Trukai deposit at its Frieda River copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea has risen to 9.4 million mt, based on a total resource of 2.09 billion mt at a grading of 0.45% copper at a cutoff of 0.2%, reports Platts.

“Contained copper has increased by 10% in the total mineral resource and by 7% in the measured and indicated resource categories, compared to the previous update released in February,” Xstrata said in a statement. The measured category now comprises 37% of the total mineral resource, compared with 16% in February, the company added. The 2.09 billion mt total resource includes 14.8 million oz of contained gold metal at a grading of 0.22 grams/mt.

A feasibility study on the Frieda River project is due for completion in January 2012. A pre-feasibility study in late 2010 indicated it had the potential to produce 246,000 mt/year of copper and 379,000 oz/year of gold for the first eight years of a 20-year mine life, Platts reported earlier.

Frieda River, located 170 kilometers (105 miles) from Barrick’s 550,000 oz/year Porgera gold mine, has been touted as one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold resources in the Asia Pacific. It is a joint venture between Xstrata (81.82%) and Australia listed Highlands Pacific (18.18%).

If the JV partners were to proceed with applying for a mining license after the feasibility study was completed, development could potentially start in late 2012 or early 2013, Highlands said in late 2010. –Kimfeng Wong, newsdesk@platts.com

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Papua New Guinea mines hitting huge production levels

Papua New Guinea’s mining industry is poised to produce 31,325,500oz of gold and silver and 165,000 tonnes of copper this year.

Officer-in-charge of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) Philip Samar told a mines and money conference in Beijing last week that these production figures were expected from the six mines operating in the country at present.
The six mines are Porgera, Ok Tedi, Tolukuma, Sinivit, Simberi and Lihir.

Out of the production figures and commodities, Porgera is expected to produce 500,000oz of gold and 80,000oz of silver, Ok Tedi 400,000oz of gold, 1,000,000oz of silver and 165,000 tonnes of copper, Tolukuma 70,000oz of gold and 150,000oz of silver, Sinivit 50,000oz of gold and 2,500oz of silver, Simberi 800,000oz of gold, while Lihir is expected to produce 800,000oz of gold.

Samar said PNG had four major mines in advanced stages of construction which were expected to come on stream in the near future.
The mines are Ramu NiCo (more than 30 years life span), Solwara-1 (five years), Yandera (10 years) and Frieda projects with expected mine life of 20 years.

He said several potential investors had spoken to him during the conference and had expressed interest in visiting PNG to obtain more information on mineral investment climate in PNG.
Samar said others visited the PNG booth and enquired about the PNG mining policies and regulatory framework.

*Spotted in The National

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Another landmark: 100,000 visits

The Papua New Guinea Mine Watch blog has passed another important milestone, welcoming the 100,000th visit to the site on Saturday.

This level of interest in mining issues in Papua New Guinea probably reflects two contrasting (or divergent) themes.

One is the continuing high level of resource prices on international markets. This is fueling a corresponding high level of interest in PNG’s metals which is reflected in the exploration of potential new deposits and the development of new mines such as Frieda River, Yandera, Wafi-Golupu and Solwara 1.

The other theme is the continuing failing of transnational mining companies operating in Papua New Guinea to observe and implement the same environmental and human rights standards that their executives and investors enjoy in their home countries.

The pollution of the Watut River with acid-forming rocks would not have occurred if Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold were following the standards demanded in Australia. The dumping of mine tailings containing heavy metals from the Ramu and Lihir mines into the sea would not be allowed in either China or Australia, where the companies that own these mines, MCC, Newcrest and Highlands Pacific,  are domiciled. The human rights abuses and pollution at the Porgera mine would not be tolerated in Canada, home to Barrick Gold.

The world it seems is very keen to take Papua New Guinea’s metals but the mining executives and their investors are not prepared to respect Papua New Guinea’s laws, its people or environment in their rush for profits; and Papua New Guinea’s politicians and bureaucrats are too week and greedy to put up any form of resistance.

The failings that led to two of the biggest mining disasters on a global scale at Ok Tedi and Panguna are not only still apparentt in Papua New Guinea, they are seemingly more prevelent than ever. Combined with the heightened levels of mining this means more disasters, more misery and more lost opportunities are inevitable unless local people are prepared to be much more belligerent and vocal in defending their land, their families and their communities.

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